So you have decided to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Hamilton AL in order to become a radiologic technician. But now that you have chosen to enter the rewarding field of healthcare, just how do you set about selecting the ideal college and program to ensure that you will receive the appropriate training to become a skilled practitioner? And considering that most states do require that x-ray techs become licensed, depending on where you subsequently work you may require preparation to pass a licensing exam. So it's imperative that you research each of the X-ray technician schools you are looking at in order to compare each program. Many potential students start by searching for colleges or technical schools that are within driving distance of their residences. Next, they check tuition and usually gravitate toward the most affordable cost. But while location and cost must be considered, there are additional critical qualifications as well. For instance, you need to ask if the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they sponsor internship programs. These questions and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are reviewing are presented later in this article. But first, let's discuss what a x-ray tech does and the credentials and education options that are available.
X-Ray Technician Occupation Summary
There are several professional designations for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They may also be called radiologic technicians or technologists, radiographers or radiology techs. No matter what the name, they all have the identical major job function, which is to use imaging machines to internally view patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists may also provide radiation therapy for treating cancer. Many elect to practice as generalists, while there are those that have chosen a specialization, for example mammography. They may work in Hamilton AL clinics, hospitals, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray tech may utilize include:
- Traditional and specialized X-Rays
- Computerized tomography (CT) or "CAT" scans
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Sonography or ultrasound
Radiographers must maintain their equipment and routinely assess its functionality and safety. They are additionally expected to keep in-depth records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they must adhere to a code of conduct and a high professional standard.
Radiology Tech Degrees
The basic prerequisite for attending an x-ray tech program is to have earned a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist students have the choice to earn either an Associate or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most common among techs, generally takes 18 months to two years to finish based upon the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at as much as 4 years to complete and is more extensive in scope. The majority of students select a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional similar majors that are appropriate also. Something to bear in mind is that radiographer programs have a clinical training or lab component as a component of their curriculum. It can typically be satisfied by participating in an internship program which many colleges sponsor through local clinics and hospitals in Hamilton AL or their region. After you have graduated from any of the degree programs, you will need to comply with any certification or licensing requirements in Alabama or the state you will be working as applicable.
X-ray Technician Certification and Licensing
When you have graduated from an Radiologist college, based on the state where you will be employed you might have to become licensed. The majority of states do mandate licensing, and their requirements differ so get in touch with your state. Currently, all states that do mandate licensing will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification examination for the purpose of licensing, but a number provide additional alternatives for testing also. Several states also require certification as part of the licensing procedure, otherwise it is optional. However, many healthcare employers will only hire radiology techs that are certified so it might increase your career options in and around Hamilton AL to earn certification. ARRT's certification program involves graduation from an approved program in addition to a passing score on their comprehensive exam. ARRT also demands re-certification every 2 years, which can be fulfilled with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an examination.
Online Radiology Tech Colleges
As a part of every degree program, x-ray tech schools will have practical or lab training included in their curriculum. This is no different for online degree schools. So even though you can still obtain your degree online, a significant portion of the training will be satisfied either in a school lab or in an externship off campus. Practical training is usually conducted in Hamilton AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the colleges. But the online segment of the training may be accessed in the privacy of your residence. Students who continue working while earning their degree typically discover that the online style of learning is far more convenient with their busy schedules. Plus online programs are generally less expensive than conventional options. In addition to reduced tuition, expenditures for study materials and commuting may be decreased as well. But just confirm that the online school you enroll in is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are motivated enough to learn with this less structured style of training, then an online degree may be the ideal choice for you.
What to Ask Radiology Tech Colleges
As soon as you have selected the type of degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of searching for and evaluating x-ray technician colleges near Hamilton AL. You will also have to determine if you prefer to attend online classes or travel to a local campus. If you opt for the latter, then naturally the location of the school will be important. The cost of tuition and secondary expenses will be an important factor as well. But in addition to cost and location, what else should you look at when comparing schools? Well, you need to check out if the colleges are accredited, and if they provide externship or internship programs. To help you find out some of these crucial details prior to making your selection, we have compiled a list of questions that you should ask the schools you are assessing.
Are the X-Ray Tech Programs Accredited? The majority of radiology tech colleges have obtained some type of accreditation, whether national or regional. Nevertheless, it's still imperative to confirm that the program and school are accredited. Among the most highly regarded accrediting agencies in the field of radiology is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). Programs obtaining accreditation from the JRCERT have undergone a rigorous evaluation of their teachers and educational materials. If the college is online it can also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. All accrediting agencies should be acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Besides guaranteeing a premium education, accreditation will also help in securing financial assistance and student loans, which are often not accessible for non-accredited programs. Accreditation may also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And a number of Hamilton AL employers will only hire a graduate of an accredited college for entry-level openings.
Are Internships Provided? Ask if the xray technician programs you are evaluating have relationships with area clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent way to receive hands on training in a clinical environment, they are also a means to satisfy the clinical training requirement for most programs. As a secondary benefit, they may assist graduates and students establish professional relationships in the Hamilton AL healthcare community and assist with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Help provided? You will probably wish to secure employment quickly after graduating, but getting that initial job in Hamilton AL in a new profession can be difficult without assistance. Find out if the radiographer programs you are considering have job assistance programs and what their success rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are a good indication that the schools have sizable networks and great relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also corroborates that their students are well regarded and in demand.
Where is the Program Located? For a lot of students, the college they choose will have to be within travelling distance of their Hamilton AL home. Those who have decided to attend classes online naturally will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. Something to consider is that if you choose to enroll in a school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges generally charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that prefers to sit way in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will likely prefer a small class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the Hamilton AL schools you are researching what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you a chance to speak with some of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the radiology tech program also.
Does the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the xray tech school you finally choose can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you choose to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Hamilton AL area, make sure that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would need to enroll in. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss because of illness, work or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right Hamilton X-Ray Tech Training
Picking the appropriate x-ray tech degree program is an important first step toward launching a satisfying new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiologic technologist should be in good physical condition. Radiology techs often stand for the greater part of the working day and position and at times lift the patient to get the proper image. Candidates must also demonstrate a capability to pay strict attention to detail and to follow the safety requirements designed to protect both the patient and the medical team. X-Ray technicians work very closely with patients, other technicians as well as the doctors and radiologists. Possessing social skills is a must in order to have a good work environment and deliver the best available patient care. As has been discussed in this post, there are several questions that you should ask each college you are considering before making your ultimate decision. This is similarly true whether you participate in an online school or travel to classes on-campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can evaluate and compare each school so you can focus your choices before making your decision. And with the appropriate education and your motivation to succeed, you can accomplish your goal to practice as a X-ray tech in Hamilton Alabama.